You know how sometimes we talk about how cool it would be to have superpowers and which ones we’d want? Like being able to fly at supersonic speed so we wouldn’t have to drive for forever to see your grandparents? Or to be super stretchy so you could pick up your room without ever getting up?
Did you know that some kids have a power they don’t want?
It’s true! It sounds cool to be invisible, I know. But think about what it would be like if you were always invisible, whether you wanted to be or not. Everything would go on around you as if you weren’t there. You could watch it all, but never get to do fun things because you couldn’t be seen. No one would invite you to their birthday party. No one would ask you to play at recess. No one would help you when you needed it.
Not so cool, huh?
Let me tell you about a girl I once knew named Sandy. Despite her bright red, curly hair, she was invisible at my school. She had casts or braces on her legs most of the time, which caused her to oddly saunter down the hallway, swinging her right leg around at the hip. No one really looked at her when they passed her. She was different in a lot of ways and occasionally blurted out something random in the hallway. When that happened, everyone pretended not to hear it.
Sandy wasn’t in my class, but I saw her everyday at lunch. She’d sometimes walk up to tables full of kids, loudly asking if anyone wanted her autograph. Even that was only met with uncomfortable giggles. No one ever actually answered her. Kids wouldn’t sit where she had been sitting, giggled at her mismatched clothes, and some said she smelled funny. Other than that, she was invisible to the kids in the sixth grade.
One day, near the end of lunchtime, Sandy was sitting alone as usual. In a loud, varying tone of voice, she asked, “Will someone dump my tray?” Several kids were walking past her on their way to dump trays, and awkwardly pretended not to hear anything. She asked again, even louder this time. More kids got uncomfortable. No one moved.
I knew what I had to do, but that didn’t mean I was happy about it. I was far from the coolest kid in school and didn’t want to become the next one who was invisible. Before I could think too much, I got up. I still remember quickly walking over to her and very quietly saying, “I’ll dump your tray for you, Sandy.” Then I did. She thanked me and I sat back down at my own table. That was that.
I wish I could say that I began to talk to Sandy, to really see her, after that day. I wish I could say that I was the one who helped her lose her invisibility.
But I didn’t.
I only helped her become visible for a moment. However, it is a moment that has impacted me enough to still remember the green milk carton on the cream colored lunch tray as I unwillingly did what was right over twenty years ago. I remember it so well because I felt ashamed. I felt ashamed to do what I knew was right.
Baby, I’m telling you this story with the hope that you never, ever feel ashamed to do what’s right. You see, just like you and me, Sandy was someone’s baby. Just like you and me, she was a beloved child of God. No one is born to be invisible. There are only people who treat others as if they are invisible. Please, please never be one of those people.
See the invisible kids each and everyday at school, baby. Really see them. Look them in the eyes and smile at them in the hallway. Just say hi and call them by their name. Sometimes you could even give a compliment like, “Hey! I love your backpack!” Just by doing these simple things, you may inspire your classmates to do the same. Then, the next thing you know, a kid like Sandy feels less alone. A kid like Sandy has a new friend or their very first birthday party invitation. He or she is no longer invisible and it was because of you. You chose to be brave when others chose to fit in. You chose to love when others chose to ignore.
You see you can choose a superpower to use at school this year. You have the power to see people and love them as they are, no matter what others do. Always remember that bravery is better than conformity. Kind is better than cool. Love is always the right choice.
I’m always here for you, kiddo. Everyday. Talk to me when you think someone feels invisible. Tell me if it’s you who feels invisible one day. When life is hard, come to me. You never have to figure it all out on your own. Always remember that you are brave, you are kind, and you can always, always be proud to do what is right.
Love you forever,